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Wealthy Russians linked to Putin must be stripped of all rights bought through investment schemes

Date

08 Mar 2022

Sections

Global Europe

The S&D Group in the European Parliament supports a ban on citizenship based investment schemes that unfairly allow wealthy foreign investors to buy EU rights such as free movement.

S&D MEPs also firmly support an amendment tabled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that calls for member states to withdraw the citizenship and residency rights, granted through investment schemes, of anyone with links to Putin’s regime and who is facing EU sanctions.

Parliament’s list of demands on the Commission, that will be debated on Monday and voted on Tuesday, also includes more rigorous security checks on residency based investment schemes, such as vetting police records, conducting interviews and financial background checks.

Elena Yoncheva, S&D negotiator for the proposals on citizenship and residence by investment schemes, said:

“For far too long, the rich, privileged few have been able to buy EU rights like they would buy their weekly food shopping. The time has come to ban citizenship investment schemes in the EU once and for all. So-called golden passports offer cherished rights, like freedom of movement and the right to vote, to the highest bidders. Parliament is also calling for governments to tighten up the eligibility criteria for residency schemes in the EU with more stringent vetting procedures for individuals and their families and with stricter requirements on reporting the time an investor spends in a country.

“There has to be the same high standard of rules in place in all member states to make sure these schemes do not pose a risk to EU security or EU interests. Member states need to be beyond doubt when it comes to legitimacy of an investor’s interests and their funding sources so that Europe is watertight in the fight against dirty money. The most urgent step is clear: we must revoke the rights of all those with financial, business or other links to Putin and his regime; rights bought through citizenship or residency based investment schemes. These individuals pose an immediate security risk to Europe and they clearly have neither Europe’s interests nor values at heart. The EU is united behind our targeted efforts to stop Russia’s relentless aggression in Ukraine and withdrawing these rights must be part of this concerted effort.”

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